Video Blog: 'Skyfall' is the Best of Bond Old and New in a Long Time
by Alex Billington
October 13, 2012
"Let the sky fall, when it crumbles, we will stand tall, and face it all together." Bond is back! And better than ever. I was lucky to catch the very "first showing" of James Bond's Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film, last night and it was awesome. I left the even more excited than when I went in. Everyone knows I'm a life-long, die-hard Bond fan and have been leading up to this (with a set visit to Istanbul) and more, but this was the moment I was waiting for. Its been four years since we last saw a new Bond film, and not exactly to the best outcome. But Skyfall will make you forget about that and fall in love with the character of 007 all over again.
As I tweeted right after seeing it - I want to see Skyfall again right away. Then talk about it for hours on end with Bond fans. It's refreshingly modern and completely exciting again, but also harkens back to the classic Bond (I'm talking Connery, Moore, Lazenby, Dalton) in so many ways, with fun little nods throughout, but also thematically and characteristically. Skyfall is big, beautiful (due to cinematographer Roger Deakins) and badass, thanks especially to director Sam Mendes and all he brought to it. I could go on, but it's best to save the experience for theaters, because like a Chris Nolan film - this is one you need to see in theaters.
As is the norm, immediately following the screening I recorded a video blog with my friend Peter Sciretta from SlashFilm (who is not a Bond fan) talking about our initial spoiler-free reactions to Skyfall. Watch:
This year marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond in movies and I truly believe Eon Productions went all out, hiring THE perfect director and crew, the best writers and cinematographer, and giving them any and everything they needed to make this possibly the best Bond movie of its modern era. Even over the Pierce Brosnan films, which (give or take GoldenEye) seem like flashy Hollywood shlock compared to Skyfall. The depths it gets into with the character of James Bond, as well as M, the villain Silva, even the new Q (played perfectly by Ben Whishaw) is just one of the many layers to this complex story of espionage, technology and humanity. Who is James Bond, really? Besides just a number, or just a spy. You will find out in Skyfall.
There is so much more I wish I could say, but can't yet. The kind of stuff Bond fans will love discussing for hours on end after seeing it. To me this is almost a completely fresh reestablishment of modern Bond, of the Daniel Craig James Bond (and Craig, mind you, is certainly at the top of his game once again). The way it ends, the story it sets up, the journey it takes the characters on; it's deep, but it's everything Ian Fleming would be proud of. That Chris Nolan comparison works in many ways, as it kind of feels like a Nolan Bond (if you can envision that) but with all the human relationship sensibilities Sam Mendes is best known for.
I can't say enough good things about this. The intensity builds slowly at first (after a fantastic 20-minute opening chase scene through Istanbul) but as it goes on it gets more and more intense. Every action scene hits hard, but for good reason, because every character has weight, even the supporting ones. Even Q. Even the Prime Minister. However, for the sake of assuring your own experience in theaters is as good as mine was, I'll save more discussion for later. But I can, and must say again - Bond is back and better than ever!
Reader Feedback - 26 Comments
Glad its good but again, no gadgets makes me a sad panda. I mean with all the cool toys we have these days, ipad, iphone etc, im sure there would have been some cool way to have something 'realistically' and fun in the movie without going into cheese land territory. Still, excited that you liked it as I am a Bond fan myself.
buzzfunk on Oct 13, 2012
Why would you say there are no gadgets? In the trailer we see Q handing Bond a specialized pistol that will only fire for him. Not a mind blowingly cool gadget, but this is when Q was just starting out so he needs to learn to walk before he runs.
Matt Peloquin on Oct 13, 2012
I thought Peter specifically said he didn't like the "cheesiness" of the older films?
axalon on Oct 13, 2012
My mind would have melted if Sam Mendes was unable to make a great Bond film.
Gill on Oct 13, 2012
What is the run time?? You say over 2 hours and the description on what I've seen said 1 hr 40.
Steven on Oct 13, 2012
I really do love your reviews. I feel like I can relate to your review. Lofty or abstract terms are not used, you just say what you feel. I love it and because of this review I very much look forward to "Skyfall". Also did you guys film this outside of the Culver City theaters?
Clayton on Oct 13, 2012
This is definitely one of the things that I think separates this site from others, sometimes it feels like Alex is just another friend that's really into movies. I dig that.
axalon on Oct 13, 2012
I do as well. There isn't anything pretentious about their reviews. They just tell you what's awesome, why it's awesome and why you should or shouldn't see it haha
clayton on Oct 13, 2012
That's a great theater. My parents live right around the corner and we've often done dinner and a movie right there. Downtown Culver City is a-happening place
Clayton on Oct 15, 2012
I didn't care especially for Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace. Daniel Craig doesn't have the charm the other James Bonds had (not counting the horrid George Lazenby). There are no gripping over-the-top action sequences with exciting music, just Bourne-style action (which works for Bourne, but Bond is not Bourne). Didn't dislike the two Craig movies, but they weren't Bond, they were just Jason Bourne with his memories intact.
Commenter on Oct 13, 2012
The opening scene to Casino Royale is a great over-the-top action sequence. Its a more realistic Bond, not a cheesy version. Just cause you don't like it doesn't mean it isn't great.
Josh Taylor on Oct 15, 2012
Wow! Prepped and Ready. Thanks Alex, can't wait.
JJ King on Oct 13, 2012
Not a big James Bond fan, but I have seen both the Daniel Craig ones several times. I really liked Casino Royale, and really disliked Quantum of Solace. As long as Skyfall is more like the former, I'm happy. I am a huge fan of Sam Mendes, so I'm glad he was chosen to be the director and based on the early reaction it sounds as though he did a great job.
John on Oct 13, 2012
Did it make you feel like going for a Heineken afterwards?
castingcouch on Oct 13, 2012
Was dat martini shaken stirred or baked like me hahahahasha -coughs- mr.bill we gonna be guud friends!
Paul High on Oct 14, 2012
Can't wait. I hope it says 'James Bond will return' at the end
Domo on Oct 14, 2012
After boycotting the Daniel Craig Bond films since I heard he was taking on the character, I watched Casino Royale for the first time last week. It was just as I had envisioned. Apart from the tedious, underwhelming story (which I fell asleep watching initially), Bond has been transformed into a brutish thug. He has none of the charm or charisma of Roger moore or Sean Connery, he "doesn't care" if his Martini is shaken or stirred and even turns down sex to follow up a lead for christ sake!! I wont be watching anymore of the franchise while Bond is being portrayed as a delinquent ruffian. The action sequences were also flat, lifeless and unoriginal and by halfway through I was praying to Jah for it all to end.
Lagoya on Oct 14, 2012
Good, more seats for me at the theater. Casino Royale is one of my favorite bond movies and I have seen them all. Bond doesn't have to be the same in each version and you mentioning the Roger Moore Bond is a joke. To me Sean Connery will always be the best bond, but Daniel Craig bond is a close second. The raw brutality suits Bond very well considering the backstory behind him. After many many years of cheesy charming Bond, it was time for a change. There were too many terrible Pierce Brosnan Bond movies and the new reboots have been a breath of fresh air. You don't have to enjoy Bond anymore and that is fine with me.
Josh Taylor on Oct 15, 2012
Exactly my thoughts I'm not sure when people look back in 20 years but as of now I feel Craig is the best bond but I'm not sure if its because it needed a change cause all previous bond were quite cheesy
Ant87 on Oct 23, 2012
Drooling in anticipation here. And by the way, speaking as a devout Indyfan...you are sooooo right about your Indiana Jones arc comment.
Josephine on Oct 14, 2012
wow golden eye classic good. Awesome.
Jim Dawkins on Oct 15, 2012
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